Lisa Balabanlilar

WEBSITE(S)| Rice University


Lisa Balabanlilar, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at Rice University. She teaches courses on South Asian History, Asian Civilizations, Cultural Trends in Medieval Islam, Comparative Early Modern Islamic Empires, Raj and Resistance and the Mughal Empire, among other topics. In 2016, Dr. Balabanlilar was awarded Rice’s top teaching honor, the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She also received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2014 and the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize in 2010. Dr. Balabanlilar’s research explores the Timurid-Mughal Empire of Central and South Asia and encompasses Islamic South Asia, comparative imperial court culture and early modern Islamic empires. She received her doctorate from the Ohio State University in 2007.

  • South Asia
  • Eastern Islamic World
  • Early Islamic History
  • Ottoman Middle East


Lisa Balabanlilar received her PhD from The Ohio State University in 2007. The focus of her research is the Timurid-Mughal Empire of Central and South Asia, and her broader research interests encompass Islamic South and Central Asia, comparative imperial court culture, movement and procession, memory and identity, and early modern Islamic Empires (Ottoman, Mughal and Safavid). Dr. Balabanlilar's most recent book is a biography of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, The Emperior Jahangir: Power and Kingship in Mughal India, London: I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2020. Her first book, Imperial Identity in the Mughal Empire: Memory and Dynastic Poltics in Early Modern South and Central Asia, is a study of the Central Asian legacy of the Mughal dynasty of India, was published by I.B. Tauris/Palgrave in 2012.

Dr. Balabanlilar's current book project is a comparative global study of imperial pleasure gardens, called, The King's Garden. She teaches a survey of South Asian History; a world history of Imperial Pleasure Gardens; as well as classes on Chingis Khan and Mongol Empire; Comparative Early Modern Islamic Empires; and research seminars such as Raj and Resistance: The Mughal Empire; and a history of world travel. She has been the recipient of several prestigious teaching awards:

  • 2018 Brown Award for Superior Teaching
  • 2016 Brown Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2014 Brown Award for Superior Teaching
  • 2010 Phi Beta Kappa Sophie Meyer Farb Prize for Teaching Excellence

Select and upcoming articles and chapters include: "The peripatetic Mughal Royal Court," for The Cambridge HIstory of Idia, v.1, Part One: The Mughals and their Worlds, 1520-1740, edited by Mrinalina Sinha, Prasannan, DAvid Gilmartin, publication 2021. "Mughal Women, the Imperial Household and the State," for the [Oxford] Handbook of The Mughal World; edited by Richard M. Eaton and Ramya Sreenivasan, currently in publication. "Mughal Mythical Ancestors," for Brepol Cursor Mundi Mystical Ancestry in World Cultures, 1400-1800, edited by Sara Trevison, publication in 2018. "The Begums at the Mystic Feast: Turco-Mongol Influences in the Mughal Harem," the Journal of Asian Studies, v. 60, n.1 (February 2010), pp 123-47.

Expand your horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the world with the Master of Liberal Studies program. This program combines a world-class Rice education with the flexibility of a degree plan tailored to meet your needs.

Master of Liberal Studies



Subscribe to learn more about how you can get involved.



Assistant Director
Kim Raptis


Rebecca Sharp


Graduate Liberal Studies Program
Rice University
Anderson-Clarke Center
Third Floor
Houston, TX 77005


Graduate Liberal Studies Program
Rice University
Mail Stop 550
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892